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The Force Behind the Darkness

Whether binge watching a drama, scanning social media or checking for the latest news update, I have become numb to seeing death, destruction and violence. While the expression “pushing the envelope” originally comes from the field of aviation, limits continue to be elevated and raised. This concept also applies to programming as the further the envelope is pushed, the force behind darkness on earth comes into focus.

And the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and guard and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and blessing and calamity you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die, Genesis 2:15-17.

While the Old Testament is filled with commands, decrees and rules, God’s initial plan for the earth contained only one rule. This boundary set by the Lord put just one thing in the Garden of Eden off limits, the Tree of Knowledge. Adam didn’t have to guess about what to do or not to do. The summary of God’s conversation with Adam is mentioned above. When darkness came to earth in the form of a fallen angel, Adam was right there with Eve, Genesis 3:6. Instead of correcting the deception and lie spread by Lucifer, Adam remained silent, a willing participant in original sin.

And you [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins In which at one time you walked [habitually]. You were following the course and fashion of this world [were under the sway of the tendency of this present age], following the prince of the power of the air. [You were obedient to and under the control of] the [demon] spirit that still constantly works in the sons of disobedience [the careless, the rebellious, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God]. Among these we as well as you once lived and conducted ourselves in the passions of our flesh [our behavior governed by our corrupt and sensual nature], obeying the impulses of the flesh and the thoughts of the mind [our cravings dictated by our senses and our dark imaginings]. We were then by nature children of [God’s] wrath and heirs of [His] indignation, like the rest of mankind, Ephesians 2:1-3.

Although Adam and Eve did not physically die, the spiritual light within their souls was snuffed out. The apostle Paul speaks about their spiritual condition in the passage above. The consequence of their disobedience was the activation of a sinful nature. Instead of listening to God, human beings are now under the control of a demonic presence. Later on in his letter to the church at Ephesus, Paul expands upon the force behind this darkness, Ephesians 6:12. While humans can’t see the supernatural realm, there are spiritual forces at work to prevent the light from prevailing.

by Jay Mankus

Unleashing the Power of Prayer

During a 3 year stretch, Jesus performed miracles every day, with his 12 disciples likely eyewitnesses of these amazing feats, John 21:25.  Jesus calmed storms, walked on water, restored sight to the blind, gave voices to the mute and enabled the crippled or paralyzed to walk.  However, there are 4 passages in the gospel which reveal why modern Christians aren’t successful in their prayer life.  Mark 11:20-25 holds a powerful truth that needs to be unlocked.

In Mark 11:22, Jesus is disappointed by Peter’s reaction a verse earlier.  Jesus appears to have expected a greater faith by now, one that demonstrates unquestioning power.  However, a spirit of doubt is limiting the disciples ability to receive instantaneous answers to prayer, Mark 11:23.  Back in Mark 5:36-41, Jesus takes drastic measures, removing everyone out of a house except Peter, James, John and a dead girl.  Once doubt is eliminated from their presence, the little girl is risen from the dead.  After the road block of doubt has been bypassed, another element also stifles prayer.

According to Jesus, unconfessed sin or any grudge that is held, prevents a prayer from being carried out, Mark 11:25.  On several occasions, Jesus told the person who approached him, your sins are forgiven prior to the actually healing, Mark 2:5.  In the case of the adulterous woman, Jesus commands her to leave her life of sin, John 8:11.  The conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer contains a similar conditional clause.  Unless you forgive others of their sins first, God will not forgive you of your own sins, Matthew 6:14-15.  Therefore, if your prayer life is unproductive, 3 things must be addressed before the power of prayer can be unleashed.

1. Remove any presence of doubt from your heart, soul and mind.

2. Publicly confess any issue, mistake or sin you are currently struggling with.

3. Ask God to reveal any grudges you are holding on to as well as anyone you have not fully forgiven.

When you add faith to this simple equation, Matthew 21:21-22, God will unlock the power of prayer in your life.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

 

 

Missing Ingredients in Modern Marriages

Back in the 1970’s, divorce was rare, something that happened only as a result of extreme circumstances.  In fact, to the best of my recollection, the Roman Catholic Church threatened couples with excommunication if this option ever crossed their mind.  The King James Version of the Bible does not use the term reputation as our culture does today.  Instead, King Solomon encouraged people make a good name for themselves, Proverbs 22:1, to develop a good repute in their community.

In a typical wedding ceremony, there is a portion devoted to vows.  Some creative couples write their own, others follow the traditions of their denomination and most simply repeat vows first spoken by a pastor or priest.  Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 warn individuals to take their vows serious, especially ones which include “for better or for worse.”  Yet, mere words don’t hold a marriage together.  Rather, one of the missing ingredients in modern marriages is a will to love once feelings fade.

With this in mind, one of the commands Solomon gave his son is detailed in Proverbs 3:3.  Let love and faithfulness never leave you is a joint command, not to be separated.  In the New Testament, 1 Corinthians 13 is one of most popular passages read out loud during marriage ceremonies.  The original translation uses the term charity in place of love.  Thus, Solomon is introducing a concept to demonstrate charity faithfully.

The last portion of Proverbs 3:3 explains how one must carry out this command.  The term bind means to knit together, joining two pieces into one.  When a person fastens love and faithfulness to their neck, its always in their peripheral vision.  However, this still isn’t enough to save marriage.  Therefore, Solomon adds one further instruction to insure love and faithfulness endures.  If you enter, engrave or mark something mentally to remain in your heart, a will to love is born.  Follow the words of Proverbs 3:5-6 to complete these essential ingredients for a life long relationship.

by Jay Mankus

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